‘Sikh Delegates of California’ backs Ro Khanna statement, asks US govt to pressure India on various issues


The Sikh Delegates of California, a statewide organization of Sikh delegates, has issued a statement about what it calls “India’s ongoing human rights violations and the suspension of democratic principles in Punjab.”

On March 20, Sikh Delegates of California sent a letter to the leaders of the Congressional India Caucus and the Congressional Sikh Caucus, requesting that they call on India to make a “strong commitment to the values of free society, democracy, and human rights.”

The statement reads: “On the heels of a direct rebuke of the anti-democratic expulsion of Rahul Gandhi from Indian parliament, Congressman Ro Khanna endorsed the India Report by US Secretary of State Blinken, describing deteriorating and pervasive human rights violations by the Indian government. When asked about current conditions in Punjab, Khanna called for “open and free internet” for all of India, a direct challenge to Modi’s repeated internet shutdowns to silence opposition.”

It added: “The India Report by Secretary Blinken, endorsed by Congressman Khanna, described the following acts by the Indian government:
● unlawful and arbitrary killings
● extrajudicial killings by the government or its agents
● torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by police and prison
● harsh and life-threatening prison conditions
● arbitrary arrest and detention of political prisoners or detainees
● arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy
● restrictions on freedom of expression and media, including violence or threats of
violence, unjustified arrests or prosecutions of journalists
● enforcement of or threat to enforce criminal libel laws to limit expression
● restrictions on internet freedom
● interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association
● restrictions on freedom of movement and on the right to leave the country
● forcible return of refugees
● serious government corruption
● harassment of domestic and international human rights organizations
● lack of investigation of and accountability for gender-based violence
● crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting members of national/racial/ethnic and minority groups based on religious affiliation, social status or
sexual orientation
● crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, queer, and intersex persons
● existence of forced and compulsory labor
● a lack of accountability for official misconduct persisted at all levels of government,
contributing to widespread impunity

It also said: “Sikh Delegates of California continues to request that our elected representatives in Washington, DC and across the nation call on the Indian government to recommit itself to democratic norms, including open internet access, freedom of movement, the right to protest, and an end to arrests of journalists, human rights lawyers, and activists.”

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